A New ‘Arlington Way’

 

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So, retiring Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada seems worried. In a speech to the Arlington County Democratic Committee last week, he seemed to be fretting that Arlington might, “allow ourselves to become a new Arlington of rich, entitled people, lacking in compassion, empathy and a sense of community, viscerally opposed to government of any kind, opposed to everything in alleged overspending on every front?” Perish the thought, Walter.

God forbid we deviate from the genius path the Arlington Democrat establishment has set us on, the vaunted ‘Arlington Way’. This essentially means expanding ‘affordable housing’, better known as ‘housing projects’ or subsidized housing, to the rest of us. But that is not the politically correct term. It also goes hand in hand with “giving immigrants safe haven”, which means functioning as a borderline sanctuary city for illegals. Both of these bright ideas, of course, are in great part responsible for the schools capacity crunch the county finds itself in, by bringing in a lot of low-income people who would not otherwise reside in Arlington, who burden the county’s infrastructure and public services, not the least of which are… schools. This means that despite the relatively large county budget, and the repeated contraction of debt through bonds, the county has failed to keep up its roads, for example, or its infrastructure, for another. The roads in Glencarlyn, the author’s neighborhood, are in disrepair, pitted with cracks and potholes that patchwork repair jobs cannot fix, and need to be repaved completely.

Perhaps the absolute worst part about the ‘affordable housing’ fixation is the borderline bribery that goes on to make it happen. Developers often have to underwrite a project the Board majority wants in order to get approval to build. All too often, this means guaranteeing a certain number of housing units as ‘affordable’. Other times it can include things like a halfway house. As current Arlington County Republican Committee chairman Matt Wavro has expressed on numerous occasions in the past, you shouldn’t have to qualify for a government program to live in Arlington.

All of this has also meant steadily increasing property taxes in Arlington. At bottom, what the ‘Arlington Way’ is about, is making everyone dependent on the government, mainly divided into two groups. The first are the low-income residents whose support is bought with government candy such as ‘affordable housing’ or other taxpayer-funded goodies. The second are the guilt-laden limousine liberal types who are shamed by politicians like Tejada into carrying the cost of this statist monstrosity. This combined majority can then be wielded against others, including property and business owners, as it has been.

The good news is that this year’s elections may offer a chance to halt this runaway train, with Tejada and Mary Hynes both declining to seek re-election in the wake of John Vihstadt’s two electoral victories in 2014. The Arlington County Republican Committee should take the lead in standing against the ‘Arlington Way’. We can do this by outlining an alternative, free-market focused vision. What should this be? First, we should promise to make core county services an absolute priority, rather than pushing an ideological agenda, as the Democrats have. Maintain the roads and infrastructure, and put a stop to things like the Artisphere being greenlighted in the first place. Second, we should stand against ANY tax increases, but most immediately against property tax increases, particularly when they are used to further a particular agenda. Third, we should oppose ‘affordable housing’. This may seem like a tough thing in Arlington, but Vihstadt’s victory and the fall of the streetcar project have shown that Arlingtonians are open to fiscal sanity, if we lay out the vision and explain it properly. Fourth, we should never cede offices like the school board to the Democrats. They should face serious opposition whenever plausible.

We may never have a better opportunity than this year. Let’s seize it.

DENIED!

This just in, the Prince William County Board of Elections has denied a request from a handful of Republican candidates to be included on the June 9 state primary ballot after the PWC GOP missed the Feb. 24 filing deadline with the State Board of Elections to request primaries in those races. Some of those candidates are now considering suing to be placed on the ballot in lieu of having to battle it out in so-called firehouse primaries run by the Republican Party.

The candidates impacted by this decision are Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (Potomac), Peter Candland (Gainesville), Marty Nohe (Coles) and Sheriff Glen Hill. While Candland would probably do even better in a firehouse primary than in a state-run primary if he were challenged, Caddigan and Nohe would be in great danger of losing in such an atmosphere (Nohe faces Paul O’Meara and Caddigan is currently unopposed, but this may draw out a challenger).

Even Stewart faces a greater threat in a party-run nominating contest as he has angered many party regulars with his non-election year antics of tax increases, cronyism and unrestrained residential growth — issues that Chris Crawford is using to go against him for the nomination. Hill’s GOP primary opponent, however, is a perennial candidate who was the right-hand man of the previous Democratic county sheriff.

For a county that likes to talk about “The Rule of Law” quite a bit, these folks make it appear that such a phrase is “for thee, but not for me.” The deadline was missed. There are consequences to that, even if they were not the cause. Furthermore, if one is truly a small government Republican, they he or she should welcome the party running its own nomination process and paying for it rather than saddling the taxpayers with the cost of a state-run primary.

Steve Chapman Rides Again!

You may recall former candidate for Virginia Delegate Steve Chapman’s disastrous 2006 campaign. We certainly do. In fact, going back through Virtucon’s archives, we’ve found some photos from his kick-off event:

And more here:

And who could forget him seeking “sponcers” for his campaign? Or him missing the filing deadline to run? That was a classic that Scott Jacobs’ recent imitation of was but a pale copy.

Well, Steve Chapman rides again and is now running for Woodbridge Supervisor and wouldn’t you know it, his old nemesis Black Velvet Bruce Li is back as well. Last go round, Chapman sued one of the bloggers behind that site and that case was ultimately dismissed. It appears that didn’t make him any friends with BVBL as it is roaring back with a vengeance with a series of posts about Chapman that starts off with “In today’s installment of Are you smarter than a bag of hammers?

Go make some popcorn. This is going to be a long show…

Virginia Democrats Really Want The Senate Back

The Bull Elephant gets the conversation started:

Currently Republicans hold the Virginia House of Delegates by 2 to 1. Republicans have no such hold on the Virginia Senate where they hold 21 seats and the Democrats have 19. Democrats are hopeful that they can take back control of the Senate in November. Their first target is the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. The district has voted democrat over the last few years.

Democrats will also challenge Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach and the seat being vacated by Jeff McWaters, another Virginia Beach Republican.

Democrats are also looking at three more Senate seats although these will be much more difficult to flip, Senators Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, and William M. Stanley Jr., R-Franklin.

Those are a lot of seats in play. Realistically, the Democrats only have a chance in about two or three with Watkins topping the list. Even Sen. Majority Leader Tommy Norment says they view the 10th District as competitive. But Democrats only need one to put the Senate back into a tie with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam breaking any ties. And they NEED that one because Dems are quickly losing their Republican-lite counterparts in Sens. Stosch and Watkins (and maybe Hanger).

Republicans aren’t about to just sit back and play defense. They’re eyeing a few pick ups themselves, starting with the seat being vacated by Dem Sen. Chuck Colgan in Prince William County. They’re also aiming for Sen. Lynwood Lewis, who barely won Northam’s old seat in a special election, and John Edwards in Roanoke, the last Democrat senator in SWVA.

But this battle won’t just be between the Senate caucuses. The Governor is coming to play. Sitting Governors usually find themselves with plenty of money and influence to throw around at these races, but Terry McAuliffe is a special case, and he knows it. And it’s not just about the Senate – McAuliffe is looking to build an operation that not just takes back the State Senate but lays the groundwork for Clinton 2016:

“I’m laying the groundwork and putting all the pieces in place for ’15 to get my Senate back,” McAuliffe said. “But that same team I’m putting in place and operations will be a set-up to make sure that [in 2016] Virginia’s blue.”

“MY SENATE BACK” the Governor says.

Hopefully the people of Virginia will have something to say about who the Senate really belongs to.

Virginia’s 24th Senate Race And The Bullying Of Emmett Hanger

UPDATED: This post previously stated that the 24th District Committee was suing the Republican Party. They aren’t. They’re suing the Commonwealth.

Emmett Hanger has a bullseye on him.

He’s served in the State Senate for nearly 20 years and has been a thorn in the side of Conservatives for a long while now, often siding with retiring Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins in joining Democrats on key close votes. He deserves a challenge from his right – which could be achieved by just about anyone running as a Republican.

Hanger is running for reelection but his district is in legal limbo after the 24th Senate District’s Republican District Committee opted to nominate by convention instead of the Primary Hanger wanted – which conflicts with Virginia State Law which allows incumbents to choose their method of nomination – also known as the Incumbent Protection Act:

“A party shall nominate its candidate for election for a General Assembly district where there is only one incumbent of that party for the district by the method designated by that incumbent, or absent any designation by him, by the method of nomination determined by the party,” states section 24.2-509 (B) of the Virginia Code. In this case, the incumbent is Sen. Emmett Hanger and that law means he could choose an open primary or a convention for Republican voters to decide if he gets the party’s nomination for another term. The idea of an open primary however, where independent and Democratic voters could also weigh in, doesn’t sit well with members of the committee.

“The committee members are very much in agreement that the constitutional principal of freedom of association has been violated by this Incumbent Protection Act,” said committee chairman Ken Adams, who also serves as chairman of the Waynesboro Republican Committee. “This violation of the Constitution is offensive to the committee.”

This lawsuit led The Bull Elephant to speculate on whether or not Hanger would retire – even though little conversation had been had over any potential retirement.

[I]f Hanger were to force the issue and designate by Tuesday a state-run open primary as his method of renomination, he would probably trigger the litigation that has been waiting in the wings, which stands a very good chance of eliminating the biggest protection for incumbents in Virginia law, once and for all.**

But, if you’re Emmet Hanger and are faced with the possibility of leaving a legacy of defeat and upsetting the applecart for many of your colleagues for years to come, the best option may be to follow the example of Hanger’s old famously unconservative GOP colleague in the Senate, John Chichester, who made the choice to retire when faced with a similar threat in 2007 (and who has made a new life for himself by endorsing every statewide Democrat candidate since).

So, what will it be? Will Hanger choose to retire, thus ensuring preservation of the Incumbent Protection Act for at least another election cycle, or will he tough it out and see if he can fend off the legal challenge and maybe hold on to his seat for another 4 years? I think the odds favor the former option.

TBE is saying it’s Senator Hanger’s fault that there is any lawsuit because he chose to run again and declared a state run primary as the means of nomination in the 24th District. Because the moment Hanger said he was ready to go, the 24th District Committee filed suit.

Keep in mind, it’s not Emmett Hanger who is suing fellow Republicans the state in order to defeat fellow Republicans.

The Virginia Conservative piled on, asking if the 24th GOP nomination was decided:

Yesterday, on March 2nd, the deadline to file as a candidate for the convention came and went. Surprisingly, only one candidate filed, Dan Moxley. According to the call, given that there is only one candidate, the convention will be cancelled and Moxley will be declared the official nominee.

Now, one can make an argument as to why Emmett Hanger didn’t file his paperwork for this convention. After all, doing so would add some legitimacy to a convention that he will be fighting in court. From a political perspective, Hanger would face a considerably uphill battle in a convention as it would likely be populated by Republican activists eager to oust Hanger due to his support of Medicaid expansion and previous tax hikes.

That second paragraph is key: why would Hanger file for an illegal convention?

Any lawsuit is going to face an uphill battle. While the Party does have a right to self association, the Party Plan explicitly states that committees can choose a nomination process only as permitted under Virginia Law:

SECTION D. Duties
1. Legislative District Committee
a. The Legislative District Committee shall determine whether candidates for Legislative District public office shall be nominated by Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, Convention or Primary, where permitted to do so under Virginia Law.

Emphasis ours. Virginia Law says the incumbent gets to choose. The Party Plan says that applies.

Efforts to tear Hanger down before session even ended didn’t work. Daring him to run seems to have succeeded in ensuring he was in the race — and the 24th District Republican Committee has chosen to sue its own party, not just over state law but the Party Plan.

Mike Farris endorses Steve Martin for Senate

Senator Steve Martin, facing two challengers for the Republican nomination in the 11th District, landed a big endorsement from Michael Farris, former Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College.

I write to you today to give my personal endorsement of Senator Steve Martin for his re-election this year. I have known Steve for many years, and have been impressed with the consistent, Conservative leadership that he provides in the Virginia Senate. He is a man of his word – and he is the leader that Virginia, and its citizens, needs representing our conservative values in the Senate.

Steve is a man of sincere faith, and has allowed his faith to guide him in every decision he makes and each vote he casts as Senator. It is because of his faith that Steve is steadfastly pro-life and continually upholds traditional marriage. His consistent leadership on these issues as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health has earned him top ratings from the Family Foundation and the American Conservative Union.

Steve has been a leader in the fight against Obamacare here in Virginia. He was author and chief patron for Virginia’s Healthcare Freedom Act, which enabled Ken Cuccinelli to file suit against the federal government over this horrendous piece of federal legislation. Steve has also consistently opposed big government efforts to expand Medicaid in our state – not only in his rhetoric, but also in his voting record.

Steve has been vocal in his support for religious liberty and homeschooling rights. Steve supported the “Tebow bill” to grant homeschoolers access to school sports every year it came before the legislature, and worked this year to get it through the Senate successfully. Vey importantly, Steve has unwaveringly supported parental rights – including working to make sure options for homeschooling parents remain open and available, free from government interference.

Steve is a man with solid, Conservative principles, and he provides leadership that never strays from those principles. If you want proven Conservative leadership, I urge you to get involved with Steve’s campaign for re-election.

Let’s continue to support leaders in Virginia who work for our principles and for our people. Vote for Steve Martin on June 9th.

Sincerely,

Michael Farris

Glen Sturtevant announces for Virginia’s 10th Senate race

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That didn’t take long.

Just the other day we asked if Republicans could do better than Bruce Tyler in Virginia’s 10th Senate District and already there’s another contender in the ring. Meet Glen Sturtevant:

In a district that’s fairly Chesterfield heavy there’s still room for more challengers south of the James River, but Sturtevant’s entry gives voters another experienced choice on the ballot without Bruce Tyler’s baggage. Stephen Thomas could make some noise, especially if he’s willing to self finance, but his resume is thin compared to Sturtevant and Tyler – and even the Democrat challengers in the race.

More may still enter, but this is already shaping up to be an interesting race.

UPDATE: Bearing Drift has a great interview with Glen Sturtevant here. From their post:

In our discussion, the 32-year-old talks about his already full background that includes growing up in Spotsylvania, graduating from George Mason, marrying his college sweetheart (who became a schoolteacher and helped him navigate through law school), and adopting three kids (5,2, and 1). He has also managed in a short period of time to bring fiscal sanity to Richmond Schools.

Sturtevant hopes to bring that same fiscal discipline to Richmond, complete with zero-base budgeting, an audit of every state agency, and the publishing of each government entity’s check registry. Now that’s transparency!

Crossposted at RedRVA

Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Virginia Republicans hold the slimmest of majorities in the State Senate but sometimes that’s in name only. Often Republicans are having to watch close votes fail because moderate members of their own party swing to the Democrats on the issues that really matter – like standing strong against the federal Medicaid expansion of stopping tax hikes. This year Republicans will have a unique opportunity not just to pick up seats but finally swing some of these more moderate seats to reliable conservative votes in the Senate with the retirement of Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins.

The 12th District race looks to be a madhouse to replace Stosch with up to five candidates announced including some strong contenders like former Delegate Bill Janis and Stosch’s hand picked Siobhan Stolle-Dunnavant but the 10th District so far leaves a lot of people wanting for a real choice for a Republican nominee.

So far two have announced for State Senate – former Richmond City Councilman Bruce Tyler and State Central member Stephen Thomas. While Thomas’s resume looks impressive from a party politics perspective his lack of political experience could hurt in a field of solid Democratic challengers including Chesterfield Supervisor Daniel Gecker among others. Though his ability to self-fund, including a $50,000 initial infusion of cash could help.

The current alternative Bruce Tyler, on the other hand, is a risky bet for Republicans, in part because of a gorgeous but very expensive alley as detailed by Steve Thomas (no relation to Stephen Thomas we think) on Virginia Virtucon:

For those not familiar, Bruce Tyler was a Republican member of Richmond City Council (1st District) until he was beaten by conservative Democrat Jon Baliles, son for former Gov. Gerald Baliles (D). Tyler had positioned himself as the moderate in that race.

Why is this relevant?

Baliles beat Tyler, in part, because of the “$316,000 alley”.

You see, it seems that Tyler steered $316,000 to create a “green alley” in the one behind his house, while Richmond City roads suffered (as anyone who has driven in the City could attest to).

Quoeth Baliles:

“If you look at it, it looks like the Taj Mahal of alleys”

“I do support green alleys. I don’t support green alleys that cost [$316,000],”

That’s right, the Democrat was able to out-conservative the Republican because of cronyistic spending by the incumbent, who was bounced from office.

Tyler took a while to lose, fighting for absentee ballots and recounts for a while before eventually conceding the race.

But the self-serving and very expensive alley isn’t Tyler’s only problem.

Remember that economic downturn of 2008-2009 that we’re still trying to recover from? Right in the heart of that Bruce Tyler advocated for City Council members to receive a pay raise. At a time when families were being forced to scrimp and save, when budgets were being trimmed while families were losing their homes, Tyler wanted more money for elected officials.

Del. Manoli Loupassi said it was a terrible time to even discuss the issue and urged them to drop it.

Even after leaving office, Tyler has remained active in Richmond politics, advocating heavily for a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom, a divisive issue in the city and surrounded suburbs, but one made more interesting by the face that Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, a huge proponent of the stadium, is also the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, which owns property right in the heart of the proposed plan and would make quite a bit of money should the proposal go through. This ballpark debate is heated enough, but in one heated exchange, Tyler had a confrontation with Jon Baliles mother, leading Baliles to say:

[H]e hopes that going forward, constituents will bring their concerns directly to him: “If Mr. Tyler wants to tell me what he thinks then he should come to me rather than attack my mother.”

Woof.

So this leads to the question (and the title of the post): Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Stephen Thomas may be that guy, but there are other appealing options open to Republicans that we can hope may enter the race. Multiple media reports have mentioned Richmond School Board member Glen Sturtevant who would be an interesting addition to the race.

With the fate of the Senate in the balance, this is a must win race for Republicans. And it needs to be a Republican willing to stand up for Republican values. We need to make sure Watkins isn’t replaced by another Watkins kind of Republican – or a Democrat.

Who would you like to see run? Share your ideas in the comments!

(Crossposted to RedRVA)

Whitbeck Slams Stimpson Campaign

Earlier this week, Susan Stimpson’s campaign for House of Delegates against Speaker William Howell sent out an inflammatory  email accusing the Republican Party of Virginia of endorsing Howell in their Primary.

A response to Susan Stimpson:
Susan,

Yesterday you alleged that RPV staff acted to secretly support a candidate in a nominating process. These allegations are not true.

As you know, the RPV has not endorsed either candidate in your primary and I have said repeatedly that neither I nor the Party will pick sides in a nominating process during my tenure. I vehemently reject your assertion that donations to the Republican Party will go to support tax increases. I have said that the RPV must stand for something, and in this case, that “something” is the Virginia Republican Creed. Any donations from any source will be put towards that effort.

As you are aware, the RPV has sent out legislative district surveys for years. These surveys aren’t about getting anyone elected, they are about holding elected officials accountable. These mail pieces that ask constituents where they stand on issues. We want our GOP leaders to be responsive to their districts — that’s why we send them to Richmond. It may be easy for a legislator to ignore a phone call or email, but when RPV brings the opinions of several hundred constituents to a legislative office at one time (prior to the legislative session, no less) the impact is unmistakable.

I think your email should have contained the entire survey so I’ve attached the whole image below.

Not every legislator works with RPV on this project. The ones that do meet a strict standard. No mail is sent after the General Assembly Session convenes, and this particular mailing met that standard despite the post office delivering it several weeks late. The mailers contain no electioneering material, and they’re returned to RPV. That ensures that they will wind up in the hands of the legislators in question, and not be shunted off to some third party to harvest email addresses. Completed surveys are delivered during the General Assembly session for a reason — so our GOP members will have the thoughts and concerns of their voters in front of them when it matters most: while they’re casting votes.

While I disagree with your characterizations and the wrong information in your email, we will be revisiting existing standards for mail at our next Executive Committee meeting next week.

John Whitbeck, Chairman
Republican Party of Virginia

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John Guevara, Candidate for Sully District Supervisor

Conservative John Guevara has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Sully District Supervisor. His press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 27, 2015

Press Contact: Chris Farmer, Campaign Manager 703-431-9243

John Guevara Announces Run for Sully District Supervisor Conservative candidate to fill the vacancy left open by the retirement of Michael Frey

FAIRFAX- John Guevara announced today that he intends to seek the Republican nomination for Sully District Supervisor. The seat is being vacated by the retiring Michael Frey, a Republican and the only one to hold this seat since it was created in 1991.

“I am running for Sully District Supervisor because I understand the needs of our community,” said Guevara. “I am always looking for ways to serve my community and I am very excited about the opportunity to earn the vote of the residents of my district.”

Guevara works as a Manager, Professional Service for a large telecommunications service provider and has served his community in a variety of ways. Guevara was on the PTO Board at Navy Elementary for two terms, and was president of his HOA for several years. Recently, he was selected as Vice President of the Board for the Western Fairfax Christian Ministries, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to supporting local families in need with emergency food and financial assistance. He has also volunteered his time as a youth sports coach and Cub Scouts Den Leader. He is a war-time veteran of the U.S. Army.

“I have often wondered how is it possible that we live in such a prosperous district yet have a significant number of families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Guevara. “How can we have a $2.5 billion school budget and yet have overcrowding in more than 30% of our elementary schools? Or, how can we spend billions of dollars on mass transit only to continue to sit in traffic day after day after day? We have to address these and other pressing issues but we have to do it with smarter, no-nonsense management. Throwing different people with the same ideas at these problems is political insanity. I am a first-generation Hispanic American who has earned the American Dream. Growing-up in near-poverty, I learned the importance of sacrifice and the value of working hard, which I applied to my education and to my careers in IT and the U.S. Army. We need a new face, a person who has management, business, and people skills to tackle these local issues that affect our families. I am that candidate.”

Sully District Supervisor is a position on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The district is made up of Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton and Oakton.

Guevara has lived in Sully for the last 15 years with his high school sweetheart, Marilyn. They have two sons, Peter and Nathan, who both attend Fairfax County public schools.

Newcomer to Sully, the inventor of “Election Recount by Social Media”, the less conservative Brian Schoeneman, is also running for the seat.

Learn more about John Guevara and his views here,  here and here.

<<<Cross posted at The Bull Elephant>>>

With Deterrents Gone, PWC Supervisors Return To Their Free-Spending Ways

 

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Remember the good ol’ days of the Cold War when the American nuclear arsenal (and later President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative) had the deterrent effect of keeping the Soviets in line? The threat of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) actually made the world safe in an ironic sort of way.

The same applies politically. When it is an election year and elected officials face potential primary challenges, they tend to get religion pretty quickly and try to race as fast as they can back to their party’s base in order to survive. If they do, you can count on them reverting to their old ways 9 out of 10 times as survivors of these political deathbed conversions rarely keep their newfound faith for it was merely the threat of a challenge that kept them in line.

Witness today’s vote of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to rescind $12 million previously approved by the board to bury power lines along a one mile stretch of Route 1 in Woodbridge.

For nearly two hours [Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Peter] Candland contended that defunding the power line project was the right move, and said that funding could be better spent on adding additional classrooms to crowded schools, purchasing new buses for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, expand the county’s jail, or build six new miles of sidewalks in neighborhoods known for their incomplete pedestrian pathways, or “sidewalks to nowhere.”

“When you come up here and this Board says ‘we just don’t’ have the money,’ weight that on the burial of the power lines,” said Candland.

In the end, only Candland and newly-elected Brentsville Dist. Supervisor Jeanine Lawson voted to rescind the money so it could be put to a higher priority use. Both of the board’s Democrats and the other four Republicans – Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Marty Nohe (Coles), Mike May (Occoquan) and Maureen Caddigan (Potomac) – voted to keep this spending project in place. Never mind that this is something VDOT and not the county should be paying for or the fact that the county has much greater unmet needs that they are always talking about how we do not have enough money to cover and therefore we must endure tax hike after tax hike. (At last count, the county’s 5-year plan envisioned a 25% property tax hike over that period of time.)

Now, by way of my reference of the Cold War I’m NOT calling Caddigan a communist (as that would imply that she actually held some ideological core beliefs and subscribed to a set political philosophy, things no one would ever accuse her of) or any of her colleagues on the Board. But it is interesting that for the past six months or so the Potomac Dist. Supervisor had seemed to have found the conservative religion when Virtucon’s founder and local community leader Jim Riley had been gearing up to challenge her in the 2015 Republican primary. Unfortunately, last week Riley had to take himself out of contention due to work considerations. It only took until the next Board meeting for her to revert to form.

Likewise, last week Candland decided against a run for county chairman and it is all but certain now that former Del. Jeff Frederick will also pass on a 2015 primary challenge to Stewart. Nohe dodged a bullet when D.J. Jordan decided the time was not right for him to enter the political fray (although Nohe may still be in for the fight of his political life against Paul O’Meara whose background makes him a sort of conservative doppelgänger to Nohe.) May has announced he will not seek reelection and instead will run for Commonwealth’s Attorney.

So, with Candland, Frederick, Jordan and Riley all dropping their expected primary challenges to incumbents on the Board, the deterrent factor keeping them in line has just evaporated. Prince William’s Board has returned to its free-spending ways. While no one should be shocked by this, we should all feel embarrassed that these charlatans are the best that we can do here.

Chris Winslow for Chesterfield Supervisor

A few days ago, long time Chesterfield Supervisor Art Warren announced he will not seek a 7th term representing the Clover Hill District on the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors. Art has devoted several decades to public service, including working for the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, and anyone who knows him knows he will always be on the lookout for new ways to serve his community.

Running for the seat with Art’s endorsement is Chris Winslow, a 35 year-old husband, father, attorney who co-owns his own small business, Navy veteran, homeowner, and local activist who represents the Clover Hill District on Chesterfield County’s Committee on the Future and has served as President of his Rotary Club. In addition to his activities in the community, he is a leader on the Chesterfield County Republican Committee, having served for several years as the Committee’s Vice-Chairman for Special Projects. Having known Chris for many years, I can say with total confidence that his a leader Chesterfield County needs to help lead us into the future, and I’m proud to give him my support.

Chris’s top priorities include:

1. Instituting zero-based budgeting in Chesterfield County, so that each county department has to justify the amount of money they request, rather than simply relying on “last year’s” numbers.

2. Closely examining Chesterfield County’s budget to eliminate wasteful spending so that Chesterfield families are not faced with increased property taxes.

3. Adopting favorable tax, zoning, and regulatory policies so that businesses will want to locate in Chesterfield County.

4. Working with the Chesterfield County School Board to give parents as much control over their children’s education as possible.

5. Fully supporting Chesterfield’s courageous public safety offices.

Because it’s been 24 years since this has been an open seat, it is very likely that there are a large number of possible candidates considering running. However, I am proud to support the one candidate who has already stepped forward, and who has demonstrated his leadership skills and his commitment to providing Chesterfield County with sound, conservative, Republican leadership as the county continues to grow and change, Chris Winslow.

BREAKING: Candland Announces He Will Seek Re-election As Gainesville Supervisor, Passes on PWC Chairman Challenge

Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Pete Candland announced tonight that he will run for reelection rather than seek the county chairmanship in a GOP primary against incumbent Corey Stewart. Candland stated that he will seek to build a 5-vote coalition on the Board to change the course of government in Prince William County and will endorse in other races, including challengers to incumbents.

More to come…

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year Virginia!

There is an election every year in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With all the races we can hardly call 2015 an off-year. We have every seat in the General Assembly up and here in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties we have every seat on the Board of Supervisors, School Board, and the Constitutional offices as well to work. There is little time to rest for grassroots politicos so enjoy the winter while it lasts. The majority in the state senate will be a target for both parties as one miss-step here or there could swing the pendulum either way.

In Northern Virginia we’ll need all hands on deck to help re-elect Senator Dick Black. Another race that deserves attention is Delegate David Ramadan’s re-election. Both races will be tough to win even though both men have served the commonwealth well and deserve to be returned to their seats. Let’s hope voters see the wisdom behind returning these fine stewards of the public trust to the public office where they have worked so hard.

Happy-New-Year-2015-New-Wallpapers-4

Cross-posted to Red NoVA

Another Day, Another Thrashing for Corey Stewart

Since Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart floated the idea of eliminating the cap on real estate tax increases, not a day has gone by without a well-deserved thrashing from his one-time supporters. Here is today’s…

Chairman Stewart: 

In 2006 you strongly opposed Brentswood (the predecessor of the pending Stone Haven and Prince William Station residential developments.)  You pointed out then and for a year or so afterward that “when we approve large developments, we are essentially approving a tax increase” and that the county’s housing boom has “hurt the average person”.  (See: attachment and  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8XDSKrNzs).  BUT NOT LONG THEREAFTER YOU REVERSED COURSE 180 DEGREES AND BEGAN RELENTLESSLY CHAMPIONING RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPER CAUSES, including Avendale and Stone Haven, as well as a major change in direction beginning 2009-10 by the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) on land use that seemed to allow development virtually “anywhere, anytime” and allowed fast-tracked approval of developer land use requests.  (See: http://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html#FastTracking)

You also talked in 2007 about how you’d been “socking it to the development community.”  BUT NOT LONG THEREAFTER YOU BEGAN AGGRESSIVELY SEEKING DEVELOPER MONEY.  (See:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8XDSKrNzs).  At last count you’d received $759,841 from them.  (See: http://vpap.org).

AND NOW, per the 11 December 2014 InsideNova report below, YOU NOT ONLY HAVE APPARENTLY LOST INTEREST IN RESTRAINING TAX RATES, BUT ARE BLAMING COUNTY BUDGET SHORTFALLS, PARTICULARLY SCHOOL SHORTFALLS, ON PW COUNTY TAXPAYERS’ RELUCTANCE (AND INABILITY IN MANY CASES) TO PAY HIGHER TAXES.  In so doing, you have truly retreated to one of the last refuges of political scoundrels:  If only the taxpayers were more generous and the government had more and more money, everything would be so much better — and we wouldn’t have overcrowded schools, etc.  Apparently, taxpayers paying 30-40% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes and fees is not enough for you.  I’m sure it’s very frustrating to you that taxpayers are hesitant to give you more money so you can:  cover up your own policy mistakes of the last 5-6 years, keep giving indirect subsidies to residential developers, and in turn receive more and more campaign funding from developers to further your faltering statewide political ambitions.

It’s interesting that in recent years you have not publicly made mention, in fact have assiduously avoided any mention of the main reason for overcrowded public schools (and roads, for that matter):  consistently tax-negative residential development, caused by you and your predecessors’ pro-residential developer policies that simultaneously overcrowd and underfund both schools and roads and neglect tax-positive commercial development.  (For more info, see:  http://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html#Proffers and http://pwcbg.org/MediaReportsOnBalancedGrowth.html#Reports .)  

Note that early next year Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) plans to release updated 2015 budget figures on tax-negative residential development.  While a few numbers will change, we expect that the basic story will remain more or less unchanged:  The breakeven value of new houses (where taxes received from the house equal the cost of government services incurred by the house) has been about $450,000, while the average new house sells for about $330,000.  That leaves a tax gap of $120,000 multiplied by the current tax rate of 1.25%, meaning that on average each new house built has been $1,400-$1,500 tax negative per year.  While tax rates change and it looks like the average house is selling for a bit more now (though that trend could reverse if the percentage of townhouses in new housing rises), the breakeven value has also risen.  So we expect that the tax gap will remain similar, likely resulting in at least a $1,200 tax deficit per house per year. 

Highly overvalued developer proffers of empty and often worthless land do not help much in reversing the tax-negative trend.  (See Word attachment above.)

In other words, OVERALL, RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT IN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IS OVERWHELMINGLY TAX-NEGATIVE, AND THAT REALITY DOES GREAT HARM TO TAXPAYERS, SCHOOLS, ROADS, QUALITY OF LIFE, AND THE VALUE OF EXISTING HOMES.  Let me remind you that this is the very point that PWCBG has been making to you and the rest of the Board of County Supervisors for almost nine years now.   Surely you could not have failed to hear us all those countless times during that period when we’ve spoken to you directly in person at BOCS meetings or, along with hundreds of citizens, sent e-mails to you reminding you over and over again of all this.  Or perhaps, more to the point, YOUR DESPERATE PLEA BELOW FOR HIGHER TAXES CONCEDES PWCBG’S POINT, IN A BACKHANDED, PERVERSE WAY.

Compounding folly on top of folly, county officials such as you continue to advocate more and more of this tax-negative, taxpayer-subsidized housing — even though there are still ~30,000 approved-but-not-yet-built houses and no housing shortages in the county.

Nor have you or the School Board mentioned the $37-38 million dollars diverted to the school board’s Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center and other frills that were funded even before the basic needs of schools were met.

Your political “principles” change so quickly and so radically that you’re giving me political whiplash.  Let’s hope that your next change is either in the right political direction once and for all or to the political exits.

Ralph Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth

John Gray Calls Out Corey Stewart’s “Survey His Office Conducted For Political Purposes”

John Gray, a past candidate for Prince Willaim County Occoquan Dist. Supervisor and County Chairman, has taken note of some interesting language used by PWC Chairman Corey Stewart in a recent article and is now filing a FOIA request for additional details…

Ms. Horan: In an article published in yesterday’s (Thursday December 11, 2014) edition of Inside Nova titled “Prince William leader floats idea of eliminating real-estate tax cap”, in the third paragraph of the article, Chairman Corey Stewart is reported to have told the reporter Jill Palermo “….as well as a separate survey his office conducted for political purposes….”

Under the authority of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700) I am requesting the following:

1. A complete, unabridged and un-redacted copy of that “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes” to which the Chairman refers in the article.

2. Copies, if available, of any time records indicating time spent by Office of the Chairman County employee staff in conducting that “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes”.

3. Copies, if available, of any reimbursement requested by the Chairman in his capacity as Chairman, on behalf of The Chairman’s campaign or by the Chairman himself individually and personally from the County for this “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes”.

4. Copies of any invoices submitted by and paid, accrued or encumbered to any commercial, non-profit or political organization to the County for the services rendered by any organization (commercial, non-profit or political) in conducting this survey.

5. Quotation as to competent legal authority that allows the Chairman’s office to conduct and expend county taxpayer funds for the “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes” AND competent legal authority for the Chairman’s office for directing his staff to conduct this separate survey for political purposes without the consent or knowledge of the entire PWC Board of County Supervisors.

Respectfully Submitted,

John S. Gray CPA PC

Corey Stewart Commits Political Hara-kiri; Where’s the Tylenol?

InsideNOVA is reporting the following:

Prince William leader floats idea of eliminating real-estate tax cap

Saying Prince William County residents are more concerned about overcrowded classrooms than their annual real-estate taxes, Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart proposed a change in local tax policy Tuesday that would focus more on raising needed revenue for schools and county services and less on capping tax hikes.

Why are our schools and roads overcrowded in Prince William County? First and foremost, the fault for this can be laid at the feet of those who have voted to rezone property from commercial to residential and increase the zoning density for residential properties while simultaneously keeping developer proffers artificially low. This has increased the demand for county services — schools, roads, fire/rescue, police, etc. — without bringing in an equal amount of tax revenues or adequate developer proffers needed to accomodate the demand. That is what we call tax negative housing — homes that consume more in county services than what they pay in real estate taxes. The construction boom of townhomes and apartments (which are actually considered “commercial” property by Prince William County even though people live there) has resulted in an ever increasing disparity in the tax base.

Stewart goes on to defend his proposal by saying,

“Regardless of your political stripes, people are more concerned about their quality of life at home than they are about keeping tax bills so low, I mean 30 percent lower than in Fairfax and Loudoun counties,” Stewart said. “There’s a price we are paying for that.”

The tax bills themselves are lower because home values in Prince William County are lower. People moved to PWC because they could stretch their dollars further than they could in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.  The percentage of tax that homeowners in the county pay on the actual values of their homes, though, is the HIGHEST in Northern Virginia and now Corey Stewart wants that percentage to go even higher. How does all that impact their quality of life at home? That translates to less money for groceries and clothes in the family budget let alone any other luxuries above that baseline.

There is little evidence that the county has cut back its spending on things that are not necessities, whether it be its little-used membership at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club or workplace toga parties where school employees use instruments to measure genitalia. Until the county gets it priorities straight, they should not come back hat in hand begging the taxpayers for even more money.

The Derecho blog had two excellent posts last week on this very issue as it relates to taxpayers. In one, it is shown that “if you apply the tax rate in place at the time, on average, PWC property owners are paying 2.2% more in 2014 actual taxes for properties that have lost 32.7% of assessed value.” That same post also states that “Real Property Tax Revenues as Share of Total FY 2015 General Fund Revenues, Prince William County, 65%, the highest among local jurisdictions, 5% higher than even Loudoun to which the BOCS often compares us.”

The second post by The Derecho demonstrates that “[Per Capita Personal Income] for PWC fell 2.31% for the period 2012-2013.”

So, home values in the county have yet to fully recover, personal income in the county is down, what we are paying in taxes in terms of real dollars is up, the tax rate is the highest in the region (again that means we are paying the highest percentage in taxes on the value of our homes) and the county has the highest reliance upon real property taxes of any jurisdiction in Northern Virginia. That is a recipe for economic disaster.

Prince William County’s fiscal house is a complete mess (its current bond rating aside which has only been maintained by smoke and mirrors) and the ticking time bombs planted by two decades of neglectful public policy are about to go off.

Mind you, Corey Stewart is a Republican and self-proclaimed conservative yet he is advocating eliminating this much needed taxpayer protection mechanism in the county intended to make county government behave more effectively and efficiently. That doesn’t sound very conservative or Republican to me.

It is time that citizens say no more. It is time that we say you are done here. It is time for Prince William County Republicans to say, “ABC — AnyGOPer but Corey.”

clark-griswold[1]

Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Corey Stewart, our County Chairman, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on his 18th century estate and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, hopeless, heartless, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey excrement he is! Hallelujah! Holy moly! Where’s the Tylenol?

 

Scott Jacobs Campaign Still Claiming GOP Label; PWC GOP Notifies Him of His Ouster

In a comment to a post on The Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County, a voter in PWC’s Brentsville District states that he/she received

a call from [Brentsville Dist. supervisor candidate Scott] Jacob’s campaign a couple of days ago and they said he was the Republican candidate [in the Dec. 23 special election]. I told the caller I thought Jeanine Lawson was the Republican nominee. The caller said Lawson was “another” Republican.

To which another commenter replied:

Lawson might be THE Republican nominee but Jacobs is still a Republican and therefore a Republican candidate.

That is incorrect. In Virginia, since voters do not register by party, one can only be a member of a party by joining your local party committee. Jacobs, by running as an independent against a Republican nominee, automatically ousted himself from membership in the local county party when he “violated the letter and spirit of the agreement” he made when he joined the party. Therefore, he is not “still” a Republican.

To that end, the Prince William County Republican Committee took action on Nov. 24 and the meeting attendees unanimously voted that he be dropped from the committee. An official letter from county Republican chairman Bill Card detailing the circumstances and proceedings was emailed to Mr. Jacobs on Dec. 8 and a hard copy is being mailed to him today. You may view the letter here.

Mr. Jacobs is obliged to inform his campaign staff that they need to cease and desist any claims that he is a Republican candidate in their communications with voters. To continue to do so would perpetuate an image of dishonesty.

Frank Wagner is running for Governor in 2017

Yes, that’s right. According to the Shad Plank, he confirmed it to John Fredericks at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance this past weekend. Anyone who follows RPV politics knows that, on top of being a mediocre Senator in the first place, Wagner teamed up with Eric Cantor and a gaggle of other Republican electeds and consultants to try and slate off delegates to Congressional district conventions this past year, with some limited success. It’s widely thought that this brilliant idea galvanized grassroots support behind Dave Brat, and cost Cantor his job. Nevertheless, Frank Wagner believes he can somehow win a nomination for statewide office.

The solution to this is to teach establishment hacks like Wagner a hard lesson by defeating him for renomination to his Senate seat (the 7th) this year. There are a number of other Republican elected officials who must be held accountable, most notably Delegate Scott Taylor, but Frank Wagner stands out. For his arrogance, for his condescension, for his ruthlessness, for his dishonesty, and, not least, for his sense of entitlement. In short, he needs to be the example made by the grassroots this year.

Agenda 2015: A Plan to Reform Prince William County Government

Two weeks from tomorrow, Dec. 23, voters in Prince William County’s Brentsville District head to the polls in a special election to fill the seat vacated by former Supervisor Wally Covington (R) who has been confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly for a judgeship in the county. Virginia Virtucon’s endorsed candidate, Jeanine Lawson, is looking very strong in the run-up to election day and we have high hopes that she will join Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland and Occoquan Supervisor Mike May as another voice for the county’s taxpayers on the Board.

Candland and May were the only two supervisors to vote against the 5-year, 22.5%+ tax increase that passed the Board earlier this year. In a good news / bad news item, May has decided to run for Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2015. While we will finally be gaining someone in that office far superior to the current occupant whose abilities we have long questioned, we will be losing May from the Board of Supervisors where he has served with distinction. The addition of Lawson will at the very least help maintain the status quo for advocates of good government.

In deference to Mrs. Lawson’s campaign, I am holding off on making any announcements about my political future until after the first of the year so as to not detract any attention from where it should be these next two weeks. We need to do all that we can over the next 15 days to ensure that Jeanine Lawson is the next supervisor from the Brentsville District.

Why is it so important that we elect Lawson and others who share this basic good government philosophy? Because good governance ultimately benefits all citizens regardless of party, race, gender or current economic situation and that is the primary function of local government. We need people willing to commit to reforming our county government because we cannot keep going in the same direction that we have been for the past two decades in Prince William County — taxes are up, schools are more crowded, traffic is worse and businesses are bypassing us for Loudoun and Stafford counties. That is not good for anyone (unless you live in Loudoun or Stafford.)

This is why I have drafted “Agenda 2015: A Plan to Reform Prince William County Government.” Agenda 2015 is a series of common sense proposals aimed at solving our county’s current tax, spending, budget, education, economic, transportation, governance and ethics problems. By no means is this a panacea for these issues, but the start of what I hope is a long conversation that must be held in order to move forward on developing and implementing workable solutions. We cannot wait until after next year’s elections to start this discussion with new people, but must begin it now.

 

AGENDA 2015:

A PLAN TO REFORM PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY GOVERNMENT

 

INSTITUTE “ACCOUNTABILITY BUDGETING”

This twist on zero-based budgeting sets clear measurable goals, verifies progress, and makes adjustments as necessary.  Not only would agencies and departments have to justify every dollar they request each year rather than start from the previous year’s baseline and grow from there, but requests for funds must be accompanied by specific measurable goals against which progress can be ascertained.  This will allow for future budgets to make adjustments based upon what works and what doesn’t work. Perhaps if the county budgeted according to such straightforward principles, residents would not be facing a 4.5% tax hike for FY ’15 and a massive 22.5%+ tax increase over the coming 5 years.

 

MAKE REDUCING CLASS SIZES AND INCREASING TEACHER PAY A PRIORITY

The Board of Supervisors currently hands over nearly 60% of all tax revenues to the school system via a revenue sharing agreement, yet our classrooms remain the most crowded in the Commonwealth and our teachers are among the lowest paid in the region. The revenue sharing agreement must be scrapped and the supervisors should ask the school board members to put together a budget that sets as its priorities: 1.) reducing class sizes, and 2.) increasing teacher pay. The school board can then do this as they see fit, present their plan to the county supervisors who then have the option to approve the budget or ask the School Board to make additional changes before approval. That would ensure the school board’s legal autonomy while also maintaining the board’s oversight for nearly 60% of our tax dollars. That certainly makes much more sense than what we have now – a backwards process where the supervisors hand the money over first and then relinquish all oversight responsibility.

 

REFORM THE COUNTY’S TAX STRUCTURE

Fundamental reform of our tax structure in Prince William County is needed in order to protect taxpayers as well as to ensure the county’s future economic development and prosperity. We should be upfront about what taxes the county collects. County taxes on electricity, telephone service (both landline and cell), and cable as well as the personal property tax decal fee should be abolished and be made transparent by utilizing real estate taxes to raise the same revenue instead. Likewise, special assessments for fire, gypsy moth eradication and other services should be included in the real estate tax, not separated out. By doing these two things, taxpayers would know precisely how much they truly are paying in taxes and would also be able to deduct the full amount from their federal taxes.

 

REFORM THE COUNTY’S CAR TAX

We need to reform the county’s personal property tax, which is one of the most onerous taxes that we have to pay. Every October residents get hit with a bill that they must pay in a lump sum unlike the real estate tax that most people pay each month via payments to an escrow account as part of their mortgage. This is unconscionable and the portion that taxpayers must pay should be eliminated. Since the state reimburses the county for a portion of the car tax and we should not forgo that, the county should credit taxpayers with the amount they would owe on the tax with money paid by them in real estate taxes. Even renters indirectly pay real estate tax by way of the rent they pay to the property owner, so everyone would be paying their share in one way or another. Simply put, just as the phone or cable company has been able to bundle your phone, TV and internet into one package for a single price, the county should bundle all the revenue that it needs to raise into one tax and eliminate the rest. It will be simple, fair and easy to understand as well as beneficial to taxpayers.

 

IMPROVE THE COMMERCIAL-TO-RESIDENTIAL TAX RATIO

Our county’s tax base remains disproportionately residential resulting in a heavier than necessary tax burden on homeowners.  The county has not even been able to meet the all-too-modest goal of a 75% / 25% residential to commercial split – and that includes counting apartment complexes as commercial property rather than residential. The continuous rezoning of commercial property to residential, which is the heart of the tax ratio problem, can no longer go on unabated. The Board of Supervisors should adopt a rezoning “swap” policy where commercial property may only be rezoned for residential if an equal amount of unused residentially-zoned property is converted to commercial use. At the same time, policies must be put in place to attract businesses to the county that will offer high quality jobs rather than simply more hospitality and retail sector positions.

 

ELIMINATE BPOL

The Business, Professional, and Occupational License or BPOL tax (which is a relic of the War of 1812) is on gross receipts, not actual income. Stafford County’s elimination of their BPOL tax is something that their economic development department has used to great effect in luring high-end businesses that might otherwise have located in Prince William County. As a result, Prince William County attracts low-wage retail and hospitality industries as its primary employers while Stafford and Loudoun counties struggle to keep up with the demand for office space from high-end, good paying private sector employers.

 

STREAMLINE THE COUNTY’S PERMITTING AND INSPECTION BUREAUCRACY

The county bureaucracy responsible for issuing building permits and conducting inspections is riddled with problems ranging from lost site plans for parcels of land to ridiculously high fees for permits to do something as minor as moving a fire sprinkler head a few feet to accommodate the reconfiguration of commercial office space. When it is easier to obtain a building permit for a house in the county than it is for a simple outdoor covered structure that has no walls, doors, windows, power or plumbing, there is something drastically wrong. When new businesses have their openings delayed by several months because of this bureaucracy, resulting in lost wages for employees and lost tax revenue for the county, it should be a priority for the Board of Supervisors to fix the process.

 

SHINE MOONLIGHT ON BOARD PROCEEDINGS

Our Board of County Supervisors is supposed to be a part-time position and represent the typical county citizen. Due to the county’s lack of quality employment, many residents must travel to other parts of Northern Virginia or into Washington, DC for their jobs. Most people have 9-to-5 types of jobs, yet too often our county supervisors hide in broad daylight by way of afternoon meetings that citizens cannot attend without taking time off from work. As a result, a majority of current supervisors are either self-employed or retired because they are the only ones who can participate. In order to encourage better civic involvement, both in terms of residents attending meetings to have their voices heard as well as encouraging them to serve on the board themselves, all meetings should be held during the evening.

 

INCREASE EFFICIENCY OF BOARD MEETINGS

Establish four board committees: Finance, Government Services and Operations; Transportation and Land Use; Economic Development; and Joint Schools/BOCS. Items would be introduced before the full Board and then the Board would have the option of sending them to committee for a more in depth discussion and study. The committees would have 3-5 members, meet monthly, and make recommendations to the full Board. During the budget process, Finance would hold additional meetings and work out a Capital Improvement Plan for adoption by the full Board using different metrics on things such as debt capacity, load, ratios, etc. This will serve to make BOCS Business Meetings more efficient and more focused on making decisions as opposed to exploration and/or oversight.

 

ADOPT STRONGER CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND ETHICS RULES

Our current Board has been plagued by numerous scandals with one of the most egregious being the use of taxpayers’ money in the form of office discretionary funds that were used instead for personal and political purposes. While this has been reined in somewhat, other avenues for abuse of our tax dollars still exist including the budget carryover process. The ethics and conflict of interest statutes that currently only apply to Loudoun and Fairfax counties must be extended by the General Assembly to cover Prince William County as well. Our county should be at the forefront of lobbying for this change and until it is instituted should put in place rules that mirror it.

 

IMPLEMENT COST-EFFECTIVE MASS TRANSIT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can be implemented at a fraction of the cost of extending Metro, providing more immediate service and getting customers where they need to go much faster than Metro ever could.

The county needs to better publicize the OmniRide Metro Direct service (prominent Metro Direct signs at pick-up locations and recognizable signs on the buses like the DC Circulator would help).  BRT can serve the needs of people to connect with Metro now at a fraction of the cost.  The service should be tweaked – the buses could go directly to Metro stations in Fairfax from their origination point in Prince William and the departure/arrival stations could be prominently located close to entrances for the EZPass Express lanes on I-95 or the I-66 HOV lanes. This would also enable the county to avoid becoming a member of the Metro system and paying millions of dollars each year for system-wide maintenance of Metro that would gut the county’s transportation budget.

 

 

Stimpson Launches Primary Challenge To Howell

This just came in over the window transom into Virtucon’s virtual offices. We’ve known about this for a while, but have held off on releasing this so that Susan could do so on her own terms…

Over the last two years, I’ve heard the same thing from people across Stafford County and Fredericksburg: the politicians in Richmond are out of touch.  They raise our taxes, waste our money and always ask for more—all while we’re forced to cut our household budgets and sit in traffic.

That’s why earlier today I announced my candidacy for the House of Delegates in House District 28, which has been held for nearly 28 years by Delegate Bill Howell, the Speaker of the House.

Bill Howell has been the consistent force behind every major tax increase in Virginia in the last decade. He has voted for them, he has engineered them and they are his legacy.

Simply put, Bill Howell has lost his way and is the chief architect of a tax-and-spend agenda that rewards the politicians and punishes the middle class. It is time for a change.

<spanstyle=”text-decoration: underline;”>Bill Howell has been a friend, but we have profound policy disagreements. We’ve helped each other in the past and we have worked together at many levels to elect Republicans to office.  I was thrilled in 2009 when Republicans won all three statewide offices in Virginia and gained a super majority in the House of Delegates. But instead of leading as a conservative to transform government, Bill Howell squandered that opportunity by crafting the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history in 2013.

Howell repeatedly sides with the liberal Democrats and The Washington Post editorial pages and thinks government needs more money. The truth is Richmond has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

To make matters worse, Speaker Howell promised those new tax dollars would be spent to improve our roads. But after the 2013 tax hike, in their very next budget, the General Assembly unlocked the transportation “lockbox” and rolled the money into the general fund breaking that promise. Republicans must put a halt to the duplicitous nature of the tax-and-spend crowd in Richmond.

Speaker Howell has equally been a champion of skyrocketing spending. Virginia’s budget has doubled under Howell’s leadership. This year alone he grew the budget over 13%.

Conservative Republicans do not continually raise taxes and grow the size of government.

Governing is about making tough decisions, actually living within our means like families do every day, and doing right by the people who elect us.

I look forward to highlighting my record of cutting taxes, cutting spending and making government more efficient while prioritizing funds for roads, schools and public safety with Speaker Howell’s tax hiking, big spending record.  

For the first time in decades, voters will finally have a real choice and Bill Howell will have to explain why his engineering of massive tax increases in 2004, 2007 and 2013, and the doubling of Virginia’s budget while we still sit in traffic, are good things for Virginians.

Sincerely,

Susan Stimpson

P.S.: Deep-pocketed special interests in Richmond will spend whatever is required to protect Speaker Howell.  Please consider making a generous contribution now to help us build a strong campaign and make the choice clear to voters: conservative governance or tax hikes and out-of-control spending. Contribute Now!

www.SusanStimpson.com
Paid for and Authorized by Virginians for Susan Stimpson

Is The Balance Of Political Power In Arlington Actually Shifting?

Anyone who follows politics in Arlington County knows about the relative political earthquake that was triggered by John Vihstadt’s reelection to a full term as a member of the Arlington County Board. He’s the first non-Democrat elected to the board since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Worse yet, from the perspective of the Democratic junta that’s run the county forever, he’s encouraged “rogue” Democrat board member Libby Garvey to stand up to them more often on issues of fiscal sanity.

From their perspective, and that of the Washington Post, this is disastrous, and of course, motivated by classism and racism. (‘Shocker.’, says the average VV reader.) If one white elephant can be killed, the whole herd that the current board majority, led by Chairman Jay Fisette,  shepherds could be in danger. It would seem that years of arrogance and condescension may come to bite Democrats even in deep-blue Arlington. But the real question is: Is this only the beginning of a larger shift in Arlington politics?

The other two members of the Democratic junta board majority, Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, are both up for reelection in 2015, and going into Election Day a few weeks ago, they were worried. There was scuttlebutt that Hynes might not run for reelection if Vihstadt defeated Alan Howze, the same man he bested in the special election a few months ago to fill the board vacancy. Now that has come to pass, and Fisette and Hynes (over Tejada’s temper tantrum) have decided to give up on the vaunted streetcar project.

What happens this coming year? The rumor among the Arlington GOP is that Mike McMenamin may challenge Hynes or Tejada, and he garnered the best result of any Republican candidate for county board in Arlington in decades in 2007, so he would represent a great threat to either. Democratic activists have admitted to this author and others that they “don’t have a deep bench” if Hynes retires from the board. And not to put too fine a point on it, but Walter Tejada is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, as evidenced by his intransigence in the face of rejection by Arlington voters on the streetcar. Will a second strong candidate be recruited to run alongside McMenamin? All the anti-junta alliance has to do is win one of the two races, and that person can form a governing majority with Garvey and Vihstadt, which would be a nightmare for the Dem establishment in Arlington. And if both Hynes and Tejada go down… batten down the hatches. It look to be an interesting year in Arlington politics, for the first time in a long time. And that’s a great thing.